Nestlé acquires organic food company Terrafertil to expand plant-based foothold

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé has bought a majority stake in organic food producer Terrafertil. Pic: Terrafertil
Nestlé has bought a majority stake in organic food producer Terrafertil. Pic: Terrafertil
Nestlé has taken its second step to secure its presence in the healthy snacks category by acquiring a majority stake in Ecuadorian organic food company Terrafertil for an undisclosed amount.

Nestlé made its first foray into the fast-growing healthy snacks space in September 2017 with the procurement of California-based Sweet Earth.

The company also offloaded its US based confectionery business to the Ferrero Group in a $2.8bn deal last month in a bid to align itself to modern food trends, which have seen a shift away from sweet treats to more health and wellness driven snacks.

Expanding presence

The move widens Nestlé’s presence in Latin America, which includes all of Terrafertil’s operations and assets in the six countries in which it operates, including Ecuador, Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Chile, as well as in the UK.

Brothers David, Raul and Daniel Bermeo founded Terrafertil in 2005 to produce a portfolio of natural and mostly organic products, including flagship brand Nature’s Heart.

The company entered the US market with the purchase of Essential Living Foods last year.

“This investment allows us to strengthen our presence in fast-growing categories such as plant-based foods, beverages and healthy snacks, known as superfoods due to their high natural nutrient content,”​ said Laurent Freixe, CEO Nestlé Americas.

Terrafertil is purportedly the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries (Physalis), an Andean ‘superfood’ high in vitamins and antioxidants.

Freixe added the snack producer will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity and will be managed by its founders, “to leverage its unique corporate culture including entrepreneurial spirit, agility and flexibility.”

Benefits from above

Terrafertil will benefit from the Swiss giant’s experience in areas such as research and development, marketing knowledge and operational efficiencies.

 “We share Nestlé´s commitment to society, to the communities where it operates and the environment,”​ said the Bermeo brothers.

Freixe said Nestlé and Terrafertil will make the corresponding notifications to the antitrust authorities, within the legal terms and in accordance with the provisions of the regulations of each country, as applicable.

Terrafertil employs 400 people and has four factories in Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

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